More than one-third of Washington’s school superintendents are expected to retire in the next five years. Similar trends nationwide have sparked concerns of a coming shortage of qualified superintendents.

Attempting to stay ahead of that trend and meet school district needs, WSU’s College of Education in 1996 created an innovative preparation program for school superintendents, which is gaining national attention as an exemplary model.

The program is “field based,” which means future administrators do not need to travel to Pullman to attend class. Instead, they attend seminars at locations around the state. Students are enrolled in groups and matched up with mentors, so they can discuss class material with their peers and receive training and insights from a group of experienced administrators regarding current professional issues.

According to Joseph Schneider, deputy executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, “WSU’s program successfully combines high scholarship with practical application…WSU is always… one of the six top schools in the U.S. for preparing superintendents.”

“The focus of the WSU program on the problems of practice and on extensive mentorship and internship are elements of a model program in the preparation of school leaders,” said Peterson.

WSU annually graduates 25 students as superintendents.